Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Callisia fragrans, my latest plant crush

What's a gardener's life without a new plant crush now and then? This crush, on Callisia fragrans — a plant I'd never heard of until the 2018 Garden Bloggers Fling in Austin, TX — has been simmering for a few months now.

I happened upon Kelly (above)  photographing the plant in the garden of Donna Fowler on the Austin Fling (I've not yet written about the garden itself, coming soon!). I was instantly smitten.

I thought it was a Bromeliad of some sort — never having seen it before and going on looks alone — but Kelly was able to tell me it's name, Callisia fragrans. It's in the Commelinaceae (Spiderworts) family and hails from Mexico.

The flowers are said to be fragrant, but I don't remember a scent.

Surely you can see why I would think Bromeliad?

The same garden had a few plants tucked into the base of large containers.

As I've previously written, I did end up with a few pieces of this plant. Post Austin Fling Kelly sent me a couple pieces of her plant and Lori gave me a few pieces before I even left Austin. I sent Lori a photo of them tucked in my bulletin-board planter and mentioned I hoped that I'd worked the base in far enough that it made contact with the soil and would root.

Her reply was hilarious: "well, they're one step up from plastic plants, so if you didn't it'll be months before you'll be able to tell..." and she was right. The entire wall planter is now in the basement for winter, when I took it down, off the wall outside, the piece of Callisia fragrans on the left fell out of the planter. It looked as fresh as the day I tucked it in, last May, but it had never rooted.

The ones on the right were firmly rooted in place though, and just now — comparing the outdoor and indoor photos — I see they've grown quite a bit too.

I stuck the one that fell out of the wall planter into the Bromeliad trashcan-lids, which are also downstairs for the winter. I figure with all that soil contact it's got to root, right?

Please forgive me as I go a bit off-subject to share the fabulous chartreuse trashcan-lid supports. We bought a sonatube (concrete form) and cut it in half (cheap!), so I wouldn't have to haul in the metal bases from outside. But the cardboard form was annoyingly printed up with all sorts of yellow and black graphic text so I painted them with the same color as our front door. Extra paint in the can meant the project was free. I love the result.

I also love this Bromeliad, which I can see front and center now, all winter long.

But back to the subject of this post, Callisia fragrans. Here's another of my originals. It wasn't until I brought the "lids" inside that I noticed it was already sending out new growth.

Two new stems in fact...

Here's one...

And here's the other...

In warmer parts of the world, where this plant can grow in the ground, it's thought of as a garden weed, and its common name is "inch plant" because it inches out on its stems which root when they come in contact with moist soil.

About the time I was thinking I'd better be bringing my plants indoors (because of our cool nights) my fellow blogger Caroline wrote about her stunning plant (here). She let me borrow a couple of her photos, so you can see what a really happy Callisia fragrans looks like...
photo courtesy Caroline Homer
 
Isn't it fabulous? Caroline gardens in Austin, and also needs to to bring her plant indoors for the season. Isn't it odd that this plant isn't hardy in Austin either, yet they've got it available and you never see it on offer up here in Portland?
photo courtesy Caroline Homer
 
Because, at this point I was crushing heavy on this plant I went searching online for someplace to buy it and soon made my first ever Etsy purchase. There were several sellers offering this plant but SunshineByRaveewan had the best price and her shop inspired confidence, many others did not.

She offered 2 plants for $4, what a deal (okay shipping cost drives up the price substantially, but still, what a great price). I was not disappointed when the plants showed up.

They were all large, healthy, and she even included a couple of extra plants.

And of course coming from Santa Barbara they were colored up with sun exposure and maybe a little drought stress. I'm falling deeper in love...

Weather Diary, Nov 5: Hi 58, Low 49/ Precip trace

All material © 2009-2018 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.

19 comments:

  1. How did I never know about this plant?! I looked it up and discovered that it's regarded as a purifier of indoor pollutants AND its leaves have natural antibiotic, antibacterial and antioxidant properties. A friend of mine has been looking for air purifying plants so perfect Christmas gift! I've already placed an order. (Yes, I got some for myself too.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well I guess I'm in good company! It's a well kept secret. I read many of the claims of the medicinal properties but decided to skip that part in my praise, since my crush was purely physical (hehe). Did you order from SunshineByRaveewan? I wanted to leave her a positive review but since I didn't take the time to setup a Etsy profile I guess I can't.

      Delete
  2. A handsome plant when it's green but the Santa Barbara stress colors give it a real wow factor. Strange that it's not offered up this way. Your chartreuse trashcan-lid supports are fabulous!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ya I'm trying to not be to in love with the stressed colors because they'll certainly be turning green in my basement over the winter.

      Delete
  3. A Bromelia look alike for sure. It reminds me of Tradescantia pallida and may easily root in water (so you can have more and more of them if you truly become obsessive with this plant). BTW, the bulletin-board planter has always been my favorite.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ah thanks! (bulletin-board planter), I bought a couple larger pieces of expanded metal recently and I'm, thinking of what crazy things like the bulletin-board planter I can do with them

      Delete
  4. Good intro to Etsy. Do not fail to seek out Linda Coombs new Etsy shop for her wonderful little pots. I plan to order a couple from her and leave a great review to boost her profile. Here's the link: https://www.etsy.com/shop/Littleplantpots
    rickii

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Excellent! Thank you for the link, she's doing great work.

      Delete
  5. Very nice look, and tough enough to handle my overwintering strategy (neglect)? I'm sold!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ya, read what the gardener of good and evil (below) says she does to overwinter them...

      Delete
  6. Another appealing ingredient for the building wave of indoor gardens, especially with the health and herbal benefits Kris found.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Excellent point. Houseplants are so hot.

      Delete
  7. You know, I'm not sure you can find Callisia fragrans in nurseries here. I've never noticed it, though I also haven't been looking. All of us Austin bloggers have it because Diana of Sharing Nature's Garden used to always give away her extras at our get togethers, so we've built up some excellent plant insurance down here!

    I don't even put mine in soil during the winter-- I just rip them all out and literally toss them in a cardboard box and then stick the box in my insulated garage for a few months. Best plant ever!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ah, good to know that Diana is the Godmother and wow, that's some tough love!

      Delete
  8. I think I liked the 'stressed' ones even more! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ya, unfortunately they're doomed to turning green here.

      Delete
  9. I live in s.e. FL and this plant was picked up from an alleyway many, many years ago and has happily been spreading. I have some along my driveway and love it when it is in bloom, those lovely spikes of tiny white blossoms that the bees love, and yes, they do have a lovely delicate sweet scent.

    Enjoy this new addition to your gardens.

    FlowerLady

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lucky you! Good to know there is a scent.

      Delete
  10. Nice! Also - I've never paid much more than a passing attention to Bromeliads but really like the look of the 'toothy' one above which reminds me a tropical looking agave.

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for taking the time to comment. Comment moderation is on (because you know: spam), I will approve and post your comment as soon as possible!